News / Edmonton

Wildrose office burgled, party alleges membership data was improperly obtained

Leader Brian Jean says members are receiving calls on behalf of the party that urge them to buy PC memberships.

Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean says laptops were stolen from party headquarters a "number of weeks ago."

Metro File

Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean says laptops were stolen from party headquarters a "number of weeks ago."

The Official Opposition Wildrose says it’s not accusing other political parties or groups after thieves swiped laptops and attempted to steal the party’s computer server from its headquarters in early November.

In an email issued to supporters late Sunday evening, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said police are investigating the burglary. He said the party has since moved its computer server offsite to a “high-security” location.

Jean said the theft occurred “a number of weeks ago.” However, a Wildrose official told Metro on Monday the burglary occurred on Nov. 7.

Edmonton Police Service spokeswoman Noreen Remtulla said officers have made no arrests over the burglary, which occured at 7:15 p.m. that evening.

"Some items from an office, including laptop computers were reported missing," Remtulla said in an email, adding officers continue to investigate. 

Although party spokeswoman Samantha Johnston said the party isn’t accusing another group over the theft, Jean noted Wildrose members have been receiving unsolicited calls and letters from another party. 

“I do not know how parts of our membership data appear to have been obtained by organizers in another party, but I have directed staff to investigate this and take all necessary steps to further protect our lists,” Jean said in the email.

“I want to be very clear that the unauthorized use of Wildrose membership data and the protection of Wildrose information are serious matters for me.”

Jean said the Wildrose doesn’t believe any data was released during the laptop heist, “but we cannot be certain.”

He said no credit card information was on any of the missing laptops, which are password-protected.

“I apologize to any of you who may have received unwanted contact from other political parties and, while Wildrose has always safeguarded our data, we will do even more to ensure the integrity of your information going forward,” Jean said.

Wildrose supporters have also received unsolicited calls claiming Jean is encouraging members to buy PC memberships to influence the PC leadership race, Jean added.

“This claim is absolutely false. I would never ask our members to interfere in the activities of another party.”

In his email to supporters, Jean also expressed his latest stance on uniting the right.

He said he recently sat down with a PC leadership candidate — someone who isn’t former Conservative MP Jason Kenney.

“I told him what I told Jason Kenney and what I will tell every other PC leadership candidate: that I would not be involved in any secret negotiations and that only if a new PC leader has a mandate to reverse that party’s formal position that rejects even talking to Wildrose will I sit down with them,” Jean wrote.

“Friends, the PCs are going through a divisive fight right now to determine what they believe in and how they wish to approach the future. Wildrose on the other hand knows what it believes in and is as stable and as focused as it has ever been.”

Johnston said Jean won't be answering further questions on the matter.

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